: battle of aisne 1914

battle of aisne 1914

Posted on: December 28th, 2020 by No Comments

2nd Division’s attack began with the advance of the 6th Brigade. The arrangement was made that the British Expeditionary Force would pull out of the Aisne Front and transfer to Flanders. So we opened fire, and although we lost some men we wiped them out at 200 yards, and there they lie in front of us. Poor D Company had to face the music more than anyone else. The 1st RWK and 2nd KOSB of 13th Brigade crossed the Aisne during the night of the 13th September near the ruined bridge in Missy, using boats and rafts. Sir John French directed the BEF’s advance to begin at 7am with targets for the day some 5 miles north of the Aisne River, along the high ground of the Chemin des Dames road (to become notorious in the war). The German attack was subjected to enfilade fire by the 5th Brigade and was driven back by 2nd Welch Regiment and 1st South Wales Borderers of 3rd Brigade, which in turn established themselves on the spur between Beaulne and Chivy by 1pm. The bridge at Condé half way between them was intact but difficult to approach, the valley being wide and empty of cover. Field Marshal Sir John French determined to continue the attack begun the previous day. The bridges were either destroyed or extensively damaged and replacement pontoon and boat arrangements were subjected to more or less continuous German gun fire. 15th September 1914: “I have never spent and imagine that I can never spend a more ghastly and heart-tearing 48 hours than the last. German pilots being briefed during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. General Joffre, the French Commander-in-Chief, reviewing French troops: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. To the west the 5th Division spent the day making a further attempt to take the Chivres spur. On we go. Here the battle raged back and forth for the rest of the day, with reinforcing units pushed into the line as and where they were needed. This was only achieved by around 4.30pm when it was found that the confusion of the units was so great that the attack had to be called off. These cookies do not store any personal information. In this attack 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers and 2nd Essex advanced up the road from Missy to Chivres, coming under heavy fire from the entrenched German infantry. Extract from map contained in British Official History of Military Operations, France and Flanders, 1914 volume I. British Divisions in red, French in blue, German in green. German entrenched position during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. Richards is hit in the arm and leg. Aged 33. The attack was to be supported by the division’s artillery. Not much success, and Germans are too numerous to really push back properly. References for the Battle of the Aisne: 1915 The action at Hooge. In fact over the next few days the main attacks were carried out by the Germans. Confused and desperate fighting developed, as the Germans counter-attacked in strength. “As there is only one road by which the whole 1st Division can push on, it takes some time and we get orders not to move to 9am. The Long, Long Trail website uses cookies only to make sure the site works and to improve your experience as a user. General Joffre, the French Commander-in-Chief, ordered the French 5th Army with General Conneau’s cavalry corps, positioned to the east of the BEF, to continue the advance beyond the Marne, and the French 6th Army, positioned to the north-west of the BEF, to continue its advance to the north-east. The II Corps artillery positioned around Chassemy did the best they could to support the formations on the north side of the Aisne, firing on the German gun positions and the assembling infantry attacks. Several men killed. Meanwhile our guns are having a huge duel. The Germans counter-attacked along the brigade line, driving the 1st Berks and 1st King’s back to the ground north of Moussy. We get several men down with small wounds, and then as C Company goes to attack, Lieutenant M T Johnson of A shot through the body. The British batteries took some time to find their way onto the Paissy plateau and were reluctant to open fire, fearing to inflict casualties on the British troops as well as German. On 14th September 9th Brigade lost 650 men and 7th and 8th Brigades lost 150 men each. Either because there were no German troops available or because they did not appreciate the opportunity, no German attack was launched into the gap between the two corps. Private Ross Tollerton 1st Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders awarded the Victoria Cross for his conduct, rescuing Captain Matheson, at the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War: picture by Allen Stewart. 22nd-28th September 1914. The attack was to start from the 11th Brigade positions secured along the ridge north of the Aisne by Hunter-Weston on the 13th September. 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division with two batteries was ordered to take these positions, to enable the rest of the division to pass through the area and capture Chamouille, some three miles to the north in the next river valley, of the Ailette. During the morning of 14th September the 10th Brigade crossed the Aisne River and joined the 11th Brigade, while the 12th Brigade came up on the right with its right flank angled back into the Chivres valley. In the light of these battles and the failing Austro-Hungarian Army in the East, Falkenhayn said privately that the War was as good as lost. On 14th September 5th Division suffered around 100 casualties per battalion. German infantry on manoeuvres in 1905: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War: picture by Becker. By noon on 13th September 1914 the BEF was across the Aisne on its left and its right. The day began in some confusion for the BEF, the bad weather and spasmodic fighting causing units to become muddled. Royal Dublin Fusiliers 1909: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The sugar factory near Troyon remained in German hands. Military art prints of the First battle of Aisne. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. I Corps: (Haig): 1st and 2nd Divisions There are:33 items tagged Battle of Aisne, 1st 1914 available in our Library. At the far end of the bridge is the house from which German snipers shot soldiers of the 15th Hussars as they crossed (photo by Captain Harry Baird, ADC to General Haig): Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. On the right of the BEF, where the 1st Division had achieved an advance up to and beyond the Chemin des Dames, the division was forced to fall back to positions lower down the ridge. In the early afternoon the 3rd Division renewed its attempt to cross the Aisne at Vailly. The wooded slopes make the Aisne today a pretty, gentle area that belies the horrors it witnesses in the Great War. • The Royal Engineers built a number of pontoon bridges over the Aisne and repaired others. Battle of the Aisne 1914. At dusk we are ordered to move up the valley towards the T of Troyon, which we did. 5th and 4th Divisions lost around 500 men killed wounded and missing You signify acceptance of our use of cookies when you click the Accept button or by your continued use of the site. A German battalion occupied Cerny and sentries were posted near the Coldstreamers. As D Company was leading the wood a melanite shell burst at head of 1 Platoon. 3rd Division lost around 1,000 men killed wounded and missing. British RFA 18 pounder field gun in action during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The 14th and 15th Brigades experienced considerable difficulty fighting through Missy, due to heavy German artillery bombardment and machine gun fire from trenches protected by barbed wire. Commanders at the Battle of the Aisne: General Joffre commanded the French Army. These troops were finding the fighting extremely difficult. Joffre pursued German retreating forces: "victory is now in the legs of the infantry." Both battalions moved forward under a heavy German artillery bombardment to support an attack being launched by 12th Brigade from Missy onto the Chivres Spur. News comes that they are trying to work round our left. German officers in a position on the Aisne: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. The other battalions of the brigade, especially 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, suffered heavy casualties, and the brigade was forced back, some of the Lincolns re-crossing the Aisne. 1st Battle of Aisne After the first battle at the Marnein September, 1914, the German Armywas able to deploy its forces along the north bank of the River Aisne, a tributary of the Oise. The force facing the 1st Division comprised some twelve battalions of the German 13th Reserve Division. 3rd Division (II Corps): from the mill to a point on the Aisne to the west of Vailly. By the end of the 13th September the German formations facing the BEF were; part of II Cavalry Corps (the Guard and 2nd Cavalry Divisions), VII Reserve Corps, III Corps and 34th Brigade (from IX Corps). Poor devils. Soon after 2pm General Haig arranged for the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades to move to the left of I Corps near Soupir. Although several of the 4th Division’s artillery batteries crossed to the north side of the Aisne, there was such difficulty in finding fire positions that the GOC of the division expressed extreme reservations on any advance unless it was in co-ordination with similar advances to his left by General Manoury’s French 6th Army and the 5th Division to his right. The Battle on the Aisne in September/October 1914 is often overlooked, coming as it did between the epic fights of the Marne and Ypres. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. British RFA battery in action during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The brigade moved to the damaged railway bridge to find that it was being crossed from north to south by troops from 9th Brigade, forced to retire by the heavy German attack. The 1914 Battle of the Aisne, officially from 12 – 15 September, came about as a result of the German retirement from the Battle of the Marne, which took place further south as the huge conscript armies of France and Germany jostled for position almost within sight of Paris. During the course of the battle the Germans moved fresh troops from the eastern end of their line to the west, to bolster the formations retiring behind the Aisne River in the Soissons area, whose morale was sapped by the long tiring advance followed by their precipitous retreat to the Aisne. The battle was the culmination of the Retreat from Mons and pursuit of the Franco–British armies which followed the Battle of the Frontiers in August and reached the eastern outskirts of Paris. upplies had to be brought up during the night and could not be stored on the north bank. The attacking French soldiers were not as well-equipped nor were they as well trained in the tactics of defence as the Germans. The 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division assisted the cavalry in crossing the Aisne at Bourg and then occupied positions on the north back of the river, while the cavalry brigades fanned out on various missions; 1st Cavalry Brigade heading east to make contact with the French and 2nd Cavalry Brigade advancing north towards the Chemin des Dames ridge in pursuit of a retreating German column. THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE 13th September To 13th October 1914. At around midnight the group made its way through the area occupied by the Germans reaching British lines at dawn, the wounded Ponsonby carried by two soldiers. We then spent the night in trenching our position, and at dawn a force of enemy was seen advancing. He joined the regiment in August 1908. Paterson’s diary is, rather unusually, included with the battalion’s war diary and covers the period in September 1914 as the battalion advanced from the Marne to the slopes above the Aisne. From 21 August the French encountered the numerically superior German forces of the Fourth and Fifth Armies in the forests of the Ardennes region. The following formations remained on the south bank of the Aisne: The flanks of the 4th (Guards) Brigade of I Corps and 9th Brigade of II Corps were in the air. It was along the river Aisne, however, that trench warfare started on the Western Front. British pontoon bridge built by the Royal Engineers over the Aisne at Bourg, next to the demolished permanent structure. > the actions on the Aisne Heights, 20 September 1914 On the right flank of the BEF, the failure of the attack by the 3rd Division left the 2nd Division in an exposed position, further forward and with a large gap between the two formations. Between 8am and 9am the battle intensified, with 2nd Brigade taking the sugar factory to the north-west of Troyon and entrenching on the high ground beyond. The 9th Brigade, after repelling a German counter-attack, advanced to drive back the German guns positioned in the valleys leading south and firing on the pontoon bridges across the Aisne. German field observation ladders: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The division’s 10th Brigade deployed along the railway embankment to the west of Venizel, to provide cover in case the division was forced back across the Aisne. General and Staff Captain of an Brigade Major, and one or two NCOs and men have got away, the rest were missing the next morning and have just been found by some of our search parties some distance ahead of our position. Imperial War Museum image Q51496. Some artillery and the 19th Brigade, as a reserve, were to remain south of the Aisne. These new German formations arrived at various times during the Battle of the Aisne, on occasions just in time to rescue the German army from disaster. The 5th Division found the bridge at Missy to be broken and was unable to cross the river. On reaching the ridge at the head of the valley we find only B and D companies, and as we were looking for the others, shots rang out and we were soon at it again. Never has the 24th surrendered yet, and in spite of casualties the rest of the Regiment stuck to it and fought as Englishman and 24th men could fight. in September 1914. A new German counter-attack now developed along the line of the 2nd Brigade and 1st (Guards) Brigade. Mons, The Retreat to Victory by John Terraine. • Major G.J.P. British troops during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades: west of Chavonne to the mill. • During this period most of the regiments exhausted their supplies of reservists and began to incorporate soldiers from the Special Reserve, the old Militia, into their ranks. Lieutenant George Prescott Blackall-Simonds, Reserve of Officers, attached SWB. The 4th Division, at the western end of the BEF line, spent the day improving its entrenchments and collecting agricultural barbed wire, in the absence of any army supplies of this essential defensive implement. To the left of the BEF, in Soissons, a brigade of the French 6th Army crossed the river. British troops crossing a pontoon bridge built by the Royal Engineers: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. Killed Welby, Simonds, Coker, Sills and 86 men; wounded – Pritchard, James and Gwynn slightly, and 95 men; and missing 12. Its crossing of the pontoon bridge at Pont Arcy was slow and took until 8am. The 2nd Division of I Corps advanced on Chavonne and Pont Arcy. It is now too late to be fired at by rifle fire and we go on well, but in the dark C and A Companies go ahead, and D lost touch. Hunter-Weston’s 11th Brigade was active on the heights to the north of the Aisne, its 1st Rifle Brigade advancing up the Chivres valley and firing on German positions in enfilade. At around 8am the GOC of the 1st Division, Major-General Lomax, fearing that the Germans were preparing to launch a strong counter-attack against his 2nd Brigade, requested the Cavalry Division to cover the right flank of the 2nd Brigade. German infantry in positions along the canal held the cavalry in check, until infantry support from the 1st Division of the BEF’s I Corps came up. The British 3rd Division suffered assaults all along its line, beating them off with heavy German casualties. On the left of the 1st Division, the 2nd Division of the BEF’s I Corps was ordered to continue its attack on the German positions. The divisional commander ordered the 7th Brigade, still on the south bank of the Aisne, to support the 8th Brigade. The 14th Brigade had crossed the Aisne on the 13th September and was in place on the high ground west of St Marguerite. 4th (Guards) and 6th Brigades in the group of villages to the south of Pont Arcy; Vieil Arcy, Dhuizel and St. Maard. On 13 September 1914 the lead elements of the British Expeditionary Force made an opposed crossing of  the River Aisne (and the Aisne canal which joins it at an angle), and reached the lower slopes below the German forces now digging in along the Chemin des Dames ridge. It became known as the ‘Pont des Anglais’. May they be spared to reach England again and be tried by court martial and get what they deserve. The gap between I and II Corps was closed. 2nd Division (I Corps): Beaulne to Chavonne. The Queen’s have been re-directed to the north-east some little time before and we are head of the Brigade. Jenkinson, the Brigade Major, is killed, poor fellow, and soon afterwards we begin to suffer in the wood, chiefly from ricochets. German artillery fire forced the 2nd Cavalry Brigade to abandon its pursuit and fall back from the ridge. In the operations between 13th and 15th September 1914 BEF’s I Corps suffered casualties of around 3,500 men killed wounded and missing. These 12 were of D Company, and apparently surrendered. On the right of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Queen’s also crossed the Chemin des Dames ridge and penetrated the German line, firing on German units in the valley of the Ailette River. Sep. 10 - Moltke gave order Sept 10 to withdraw to "entrench and hold" at the Aisne. The Irish Guards in the Great War 1st Battalion by Rudyard Kipling. We crossed the river with shells dropping around us. The railway bridge was unusable, but a single plank remained in place across the road bridge. 60-pounders on the Royal Garrison Artillery on the move (19th Brigade), 12 September 1914. The 1st Lincolns were falling back, leaving 4th Royal Fusiliers exposed to heavy flanking fire. The Battle of the Aisne fought during September 1914 was a savage engagement and a complete shock for the soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force who were trained to fight mobile wars. In both towns Royal Engineers came up and began the work of restoring the bridges. Illustrated … No infantry reserves were available. French aircraft chasing a German Taube: Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. British artillery support was inevitably haphazard. 1st Division (I Corps): From the Chemin des Dames 1,000 yards east of Troyon to Chivy. ], We are now left with three Officers each in three companies, and only two in the fourth, instead of six in each. The River Aisne featured prominently in August 1914 during the Retreat from Mons. French 75mm field gun ready for action during the Battle of the Aisne, 10th to 13th September 1914 in the First World War. The attacking German infantry re-took the sugar factory and drove the British line sufficiently far back to threaten the flank of the 1st Cameron Highlanders, which suffered from enfilading machine gun fire. It held the line from the Chemin des Dames east of Cerny (with the French on the right) down past Vendresse to Beaulne. battle: Part of: Great Retreat: Location: Aisne : Point in time: 28 September 1914 (in Julian calendar) Start time: 13 September 1914: End time: 28 September 1914: 49° 25′ 48″ N, 3° 40′ 12″ E The other two battalions of the brigade remained south of the Aisne. No personal details are collected. At the end of 12th September 1914 the BEF was across the Vesle River, close up to the Aisne River, with the Cavalry Division at Dhuisel, Villers and Vaustin, I Corps at Dhuisel, Vaucère, Bazoches Paars and Courcelles, 2nd Cavalry Division at Chassemy, II Corps at Brenelle, Braisne, Serches and Chacrise, and III Corps at Septmonts and Buzancy. 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